The solution often turns out more beautiful than the puzzle.

~ Richard Dawkins

How are you managing your social distance? What’s been your biggest insight so far on this journey? Are you making any creative discoveries in your cocoon?

It’s certainly remarkable how fast the world can change. One day we’re all making travel plans, then in what seems like no more than a blink of an eye we’re all hunkering down at home in our respective cocoons, counting our canned food and wondering how long this will last.

There’s nothing like an unplanned global pandemic to throw both our most dearly held and casual assumptions out the window. The fact that it’s a worldwide crisis means that it will have an effect on our collective consciousness, unlike any localized disaster.

As Anna Halprin famously says, “The body is a microcosm of the universe.” We are all individual particles of humanity at large. Those of us who make our life’s work in the realms between mind and body have a unique perspective when it comes to guiding our friends, families, and communities through a time like this.

For instance, being honest and forthright about what we are feeling in the moment and being articulate in expressing it. One social construct that I’ve immediately noticed shifting is the everyday act of greeting one another. We’re all used to the semi-mindless ritual of “Hi, how are you?” answered with “Fine, thanks. And you? ”

So lately, when someone opens with a typical “How ya doin’?” I’ve stopped short and reconsidered. My reply now goes something like this, “Fairly well, considering that I’ve got my share of the world’s weight on my shoulders.” This usually gets a somber nod of agreement to which I follow with “Well, we’re all doing our best to hold up our piece of the net.

This at least acknowledges the gravity of our shared situation and invites our conversation to continue with an honest connection about what we’re both feeling. Because, yes, society has gone sideways at the moment, and we don’t know for how long, and yes, we still have things we have to accomplish and many responsibilities don’t just disappear.

Not all of us are cooped up at home, I’m well aware that you or one of your loved ones may well be called into service on the front lines of this struggle. Doctors, nurses, health care workers, caregivers, first responders and all of their ancillary supporters are all courageously running head-on towards this trouble, much like fire crews towards the flame.

And not to forget the other unsung heroes who are putting themselves at risk simply by keeping the essential wheels of society turning by driving deliveries or staffing grocery stores, pharmacies, gas stations, and the like. The sheer amount of interpersonal contact that we take for granted in our daily lives is phenomenal and for many people, their livelihood depends on it.

For the most part, however, people like you and me are suddenly spending A LOT more time at home than usual. We all deal with this in our own way for better or for worse, and after a period of adjustment, all we can do is settle in and make the best of it.

Chances are you have ample time to follow the news, keep up with your social media, and read tips on how to cope from your favorite sources. So rather than pile on with more platitudes, I’m simply going to ask some questions that may hopefully spark some creativity for you.

As you sit with your surroundings, is there anything you’ve been thinking about changing? What might you decide to let go of once this is over? Who are some of the people in your life that you haven’t reached out to in a long time that might appreciate hearing from you now? Are there any opportunities to forgive or clear the air?

What are some of the things you’ve wanted to learn? Is there a nice, time-consuming project that you could get started on now? If your sleep cycle is getting out-of-whack, are you getting enough exercise? And lastly, what is the story that you’re able to tell?

If there was ever a time to ‘create meaning’ with content, this would be it. One day our offspring and future generations will look back and marvel at how we handled this and what we did to survive, thrive, and rise above. Your story will matter.

I’m hosting another online roundtable for you and our Dance First members this coming Saturday at 2pm PST. I held space for about 25 people last week and we discussed the various ways to bring classes and dances online and all of the inherent challenges and advantages of doing so.

I’m also live-streaming my weekly DJ set in place of Dance Jam every Friday night from 8:30-11:30pm PST , so consider this my personal invitation to you to join the mix and move and groove to my favorite records. Please consider supporting the return of Dance Jam with a donation to our Patreon page if you are able, and as always, the stream is free and open to all. Say hello in the chat, love to see you!

Lastly, you’ll see that the tone and emphasis of our weekly Dance First member spotlights featured below are changing for the time being. We’re inviting our members to share how they are coping and what they are offering during this time of turmoil. For you, it’s a chance to try out some new practices and experience the work of great teachers from a distance.

For now, and until my note next week, look at your life through the lens of loving-kindness and take to heart the prescient words of Jah Wobble, “Remind Me to be Nice to Myself.

All my best, and good health to you and yours…

M+

Mark Metz
Director of the Dance First Association
Publisher of Conscious Dancer Magazine

Dance First Member Insight – Coping with Covid with WildCore Movement’s Brietta Leader

This week’s Dance First Member Insight  is brought to you by Brietta Leader, founder of WildCore Movement. We’re asking our members to share their insights and inspirations during this troubled time, as well as how they are coping. Many are now offering online classes and resources as well, so please tune in and connect with our family of leaders as they offer support and guidance.

Hello Conscious Dance Community-

If you are like me, you have experienced many waves of emotion, concern, action, non-action, responsibility, art and play in response to the ongoing pandemic. On Tuesday, I taught my last WildCore class for a few weeks. It felt right to take the necessary steps to cancel and to begin the process of letting our teachers know that the studio would be closed for at least two weeks, starting last Saturday. Though I miss being connected through dance at the studio, my intuitive heart realized that this was a time to take any necessary action to help ‘flatten the curve.’ I also wanted to help our community set a standard for others to do the same, despite the lack of confirmed COVID 19 cases in our area.

This pandemic has gifts within it. I have loved reading the supportive and encouraging comments on Facebook. One particular favourite: “Mother Earth is unhappy with humanity and has sent us all to our rooms.” The tremendous amount of chaos, shifting, unknowing and questions that cannot be answered about any of our futures has presented us with quite an opportunity. As I have created some new live zoom classes like many movement teachers and offered my online Signature Program with new dynamics, I want to remind both myself and others to take a global pause. Now is the time to listen to a more profound wisdom that may be coming only as a quiet whisper at this point. I have found that a vast majority of conscious thinkers are open to a consciously undertaken “waking up” and are ready to begin a path toward equilibrium within our community and our environment.

So, here it is and here we are, ready to put our practice to the test. To sink our feet deeper into the sands of trust. To activate that inner tracker and discover any imbalances in our contributions to humanity and to the earth. We have so much power in our thoughts, dreams, actions, dances and offerings. It is such a great time to be mixed up, to allow our events to be cancelled, to truly step out of our normal rhythms and, as one of my teachers says, to “Live the Questions.”

The main message I w